How Can America Wake Up From Its Post-9/11 Nightmare?

An op-ed by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies, Popular Resistance, September 10, 2021, (Creative Commons)

“Looking back on it now, the 1990s were an age of innocence for America. The Cold War was over and our leaders promised us a “peace dividend.” There was no TSA to make us take off our shoes at airports (how many bombs have they found in those billions of shoes?). The government could not tap a U.S. phone or read private emails without a warrant from a judge. And the national debt was only $5 trillion – compared with over $28 trillion today.

We have been told that the criminal attacks of September 11, 2001 “changed everything.” But what really changed everything was the U.S. government’s disastrous response to them.
That response was not preordained or inevitable, but the result of decisions and choices made by politicians, bureaucrats and generals who fueled and exploited our fears, unleashed wars of reprehensible vengeance and built a secretive security state, all thinly disguised behind Orwellian myths of American greatness.

Most Americans believe in democracy and many regard the United States as a democratic country. But the U.S. response to 9/11 laid bare the extent to which American leaders are willing to manipulate the public into accepting illegal wars, torture, the Guantanamo gulag and sweeping civil rights abuses—activities that undermine the very meaning of democracy.

Former Nuremberg prosecutor Ben Ferencz said in a speech in 2011 that “a democracy can only work if its people are being told the truth.” But America’s leaders exploited the public’s fears in the wake of 9/11 to justify wars that have killed and maimed millions of people who had nothing to do with those crimes. Ferencz compared this to the actions of the German leaders he prosecuted at Nuremberg, who also justified their invasions of other countries as “preemptive first strikes.”

“You cannot run a country as Hitler did, feeding them a pack of lies to frighten them that they’re being threatened, so it’s justified to kill people you don’t even know,” Ferencz continued. “It’s not logical, it’s not decent, it’s not moral, and it’s not helpful. When an unmanned bomber from a secret American airfield fires rockets into a little Pakistani or Afghan village and thereby kills or maims unknown numbers of innocent people, what is the effect of that? Every victim will hate America forever and will be willing to die killing as many Americans as possible. Where there is no court of justice, wild vengeance is the alternative.”

Even the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, talked about “insurgent math,” conjecturing that, for every innocent person killed, the U.S. created 10 new enemies. And thus the so-called Global War on Terror fueled a global explosion of terrorism and armed resistance that will not end unless and until the United States ends the state terrorism that provokes and fuels it.

By opportunistically exploiting 9/11 to attack countries that had nothing to do with it, like Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Yemen, the United States vastly expanded the destructive strategy it used in the 1980s to destabilize Afghanistan, which spawned the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the first place.

In Libya and Syria, only ten years after 9/11, U.S. leaders betrayed every American who lost a loved one on September 11th by recruiting and arming Al Qaeda-led militants to overthrow two of the most secular governments in the Middle East, plunging both countries into years of intractable violence and fueling radicalization throughout the region.

The U.S. response to 9/11 was corrupted by a toxic soup of revenge, imperialist ambitions, war profiteering, systematic brainwashing and sheer stupidity. The only Republican Senator who voted against the war on Iraq, Lincoln Chafee, later wrote, “Helping a rogue president start an unnecessary war should be a career-ending lapse of judgment.”

But it wasn’t. Very few of the 263 Republicans or the 110 Democrats who voted for the Iraq war in 2002 paid any political price for their complicity in international aggression, which the judges at Nuremberg explicitly called “the supreme international crime.” One of them now sits at the apex of power in the White House.

Trump and Biden’s withdrawal and implicit acceptance of the U.S. defeat in Afghanistan could serve as an important step toward ending the violence and chaos their predecessors unleashed after the September 11th attack. But the current debate over next year’s military budget makes it clear that our deluded leaders are still dodging the obvious lessons of 20 years of war.

Barbara Lee, the only Member of Congress with the wisdom and courage to vote against Congress’s war resolution in 2001, has introduced a bill to cut U.S. military spending by almost half: $350 billion per year. With the miserable failure in Afghanistan, a war that will end up costing every U.S. citizen $20,000, one would think that Rep. Lee’s proposal would be eliciting tremendous support. But the White House, the Pentagon and the Armed Services Committees in the House and Senate are instead falling over each other to shovel even more money into the bottomless pit of the military budget.

Politicians’ votes on questions of war, peace and military spending are the most reliable test of their commitment to progressive values and the well-being of their constituents. You cannot call yourself a progressive or a champion of working people if you vote to appropriate more money for weapons and war than for healthcare, education, green jobs and fighting poverty.

These 20 years of war have revealed to Americans and the world that modern weapons and formidable military forces can only accomplish two things: kill and maim people; and destroy homes, infrastructure and entire cities. American promises to rebuild bombed-out cities and “remake” countries it has destroyed have proven worthless, as Biden has acknowledged.

Both Iraq and Afghanistan are turning primarily to China for the help they need to start rebuilding and developing economically from the ruin and devastation left by America and its allies. America destroys, China builds. The contrast could not be more stark or self-evident. No amount of Western propaganda can hide what the whole world can see.
But the different paths chosen by U.S. and Chinese leaders are not predestined, and despite the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the U.S. corporate media, the American public has always been wiser and more committed to cooperative diplomacy than America’s political and executive class. It has been well-documented that many of the endless crises in U.S. foreign policy could have been avoided if America’s leaders had just listened to the public.

The perennial handicap that has dogged America’s diplomacy since World War II is precisely our investment in weapons and military forces, including nuclear weapons that threaten our very existence. It is trite but true to say that, ”when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”

Other countries don’t have the option of deploying overwhelming military force to confront international problems, so they have had to be smarter and more nimble in their diplomacy, and more prudent and selective in their more limited uses of military force.

The rote declarations of U.S. leaders that “all options are on the table” are a euphemism for precisely the “threat or use of force” that the UN Charter explicitly prohibits, and they stymie the U.S. development of expertise in nonviolent forms of conflict resolution. The bumbling and bombast of America’s leaders in international arenas stand in sharp contrast to the skillful diplomacy and clear language we often hear from top Russian, Chinese and Iranian diplomats, even when they are speaking in English, their second or third language.

By contrast, U.S. leaders rely on threats, coups, sanctions and war to project power around the world. They promise Americans that these coercive methods will maintain American “leadership” or dominance indefinitely into the future, as if that is America’s rightful place in the world: sitting atop the globe like a cowboy on a bucking bronco.
A “New American Century” and “Pax Americana” are Orwellian versions of Hitler’s “Thousand-Year Reich,” but are no more realistic. No empire has lasted forever, and there is historical evidence that even the most successful empires have a lifespan of no more than 250 years, by which time their rulers have enjoyed so much wealth and power that decadence and decline inevitably set in. This describes the United States today.

America’s economic dominance is waning. Its once productive economy has been gutted and financialized, and most countries in the world now do more trade with China and/or the European Union than with the United States. Where America’s military once kicked open doors for American capital to “follow the flag” and open up new markets, today’s U.S. war machine is just a bull in the global china shop, wielding purely destructive power.

But we are not condemned to passively follow the suicidal path of militarism and hostility. Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan could be a downpayment on a transition to a more peaceful post-imperial economy—if the American public starts to actively demand peace, diplomacy and disarmament and find ways to make our voices heard.

—We must get serious about demanding cuts in the Pentagon budget. None of our other problems will be solved as long as we keep allowing our leaders to flush the majority of federal discretionary spending down the same military toilet as the $2.26 trillion they wasted on the war in Afghanistan. We must oppose politicians who refuse to cut the Pentagon budget, regardless of which party they belong to and where they stand on other issues. CODEPINK is part of a new coalition to “Cut the Pentagon for the people, planet, peace and a future” – please join us!

—We must not let ourselves or our family members be recruited into the U.S. war machine. Instead, we must challenge our leaders’ absurd claims that the imperial forces deployed across the world to threaten other countries are somehow, by some convoluted logic, defending America. As a translator paraphrased Voltaire, “Whoever can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

—We must expose the ugly, destructive reality behind our country’s myths of “defending U.S. vital interests,” “humanitarian intervention,” “the war on terror” and the latest absurdity, the ill-defined “rules-based order” whose rules only apply to others—never to the United States.

—And we must oppose the corrupt power of the arms industry, including U.S. weapons sales to the world’s most repressive regimes and an unwinnable arms race that risks a potentially world-ending conflict with China and Russia.
Our only hope for the future is to abandon the futile quest for hegemony and instead commit to peace, cooperative diplomacy, international law and disarmament. After 20 years of war and militarism that has only left the world a more dangerous place and accelerated America’s decline, we must choose the path of peace.”

Medea Benjamin is cofounder of CODEPINK for Peace, and author of several books, including Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Nicolas J. S. Davies is an independent journalist, a researcher with CODEPINK and the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.

Bless their hearts. And even though his opinions don't often mirror my own, I'll offer a few excerpts of this heartfelt op-ed:

20 years after 9/11, I no longer recognize my country. The US has become a malignant narcissist, infecting all it encounters, Scott Ritter, Sept. 11, 2021""

We invaded Afghanistan for the purpose of exacting revenge more than seeking justice, and then followed up that action by invading and occupying Iraq – a nation that had nothing whatsoever to do with the events of 9/11. Iraq was not supposed to be an isolated event, either, but, instead, the initiating action of a larger effort at regional transformation that saw the US trying to topple the governments of Syria, Iran, and other nations for the purpose of installing governments that we alone deemed acceptable, with no consideration whatsoever for those who lived in those countries, or for those we insisted join us on these misadventures.” [snip]

“In trying to explain the actions of the US post-9/11, the most accurate diagnosis I can come up with is narcissistic personality disorder. This is a mental condition defined by an inflated sense of one’s own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. Notably, underneath this veneer of extreme self-confidence is a fragile ego vulnerable to the slightest criticism.” [snip]

“Maybe we were always this way, and it took 9/11 to bring these horrible traits to the surface. But in reflecting on the past 20 years, I don’t recognize the country we’ve become: a nation of narcissists who have allowed the malignancy of our condition to detrimentally impact the rest of the world. I know my nation can do better. But to do so, we need to reflect on what we’ve become, recognize that this condition is not acceptable, and be willing to undertake whatever remediation is necessary to correct the underlying condition.”

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wendy davis's picture

but the US will not correct the underlying condition. an erstwhile commenter at Café Babylon (shoot that arrow) used to say: 'who will stop the US? those who can...and must.

john gorka (and MLK, jr.) said it right in their hope:

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CB's picture

https://scheerpost.com/2021/09/10/hedges-the-evil-we-do-is-the-evil-we-get/
By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

The hijackers who carried out the attacks on 9/11, like all radical jihadist groups in the Middle East, spoke to us in the murderous language we taught them.
...
The explosions and collapse of the towers, however, were, to me, intimately familiar. I had seen it before. This was the familiar language of empire. I had watched these incendiary messages dropped on southern Kuwait and Iraq during the first Persian Gulf War and descend with thundering concussions in Gaza and Bosnia. The calling card of empire, as was true in Vietnam, is tons of lethal ordnance dropped from the sky. The hijackers spoke to America in the idiom we taught them.

The ignorance, masquerading as innocence, of Americans, mostly white Americans, was nauseating. It was the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. It was the greatest act of terrorism in American history. It was an incomprehensible act of barbarity. The stunningly naïve rhetoric, which saturated the media, saw the blues artist Willie King sit up all night and write his song “Terrorized”.

“Now you talk ‘bout terror,” he sang. “I been terrorized all my days.”

...
We did not, and do not, grasp that we are the mirror image of those we seek to destroy. We too kill with an inchoate fury.

The lives of Iraqis, Afghanis, Syrians, Libyans, and Yemenis are as precious as the lives of those killed in the twin towers. But this understanding, this ability to see the world as the world saw us, eluded Americans who, refusing to acknowledge the blood on their own hands, instantly bifurcated the world into good and evil, us and them, the blessed and the damned. The country drank deep of the dark elixir of nationalism, the heady elevation of us as a noble and wronged people. The flip side of nationalism is always racism. And the poisons of racism and hate infected the American nation to propel it into the greatest strategic blunder in its history, one from which it will never recover.
...
The defeat in Afghanistan has not forced a reckoning. The media coverage does not acknowledge the defeat, replacing it with the absurd idea that, by withdrawing, we defeated ourselves. The plight of women under Taliban rule and the frantic effort of the elites and those who collaborated with the foreign occupation forces to flee are myopically used to ignore the two decades of unmitigated terror and death we perpetrated on the Afghan people.

This moral fragmentation, where we define ourselves by tangential and often fictitious acts of goodness, is a psychological escape hatch. It allows us to avoid looking at who we are and what we have done. This willful blindness is what the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton calls “doubling,” the “division of the self into two functioning wholes, so that the part-self acts as an entire self.” This doubling, Lifton noted, is often done “outside of awareness.” And it is an essential ingredient to carrying out evil. If we refuse to see ourselves as we are, if we cannot shatter the lie perpetuated by our moral fragmentation, there is no hope of redemption. The gravest danger we face is the danger of alienation, not only from the world around us, but from ourselves.

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wendy davis's picture

@CB

i'd seen it at RT.com, but not being a fan of his, i'd breezed right on by. i will say i didn't grasp his Lifton thesis, but...small matter, eh?

i'd add this graphic that queered me on 'human right' NGOs like amnesty int'l:

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CB's picture

@wendy davis
the Lifton thesis by pointing out the dichotomy. The reality is that NATO is not a protective military force. It is, in fact, the exact opposite of what we have been conditioned to believe.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

...the Neocons say it is a nightmare.

I saw it then, and see it now, as a counterstrike against the US, with plenty of advanced warning.

An absolutely natural reaction, by US standards, in response to ongoing military attacks and sabotage by the US. It was certainly more restrained and proportionate than Nagasaki and Hiroshima were.

The only nightmare was the infantile hysteria of the exceptionally arrogant American people who think they can get away with murder anywhere in the world.

Their ignorant, incurious embrace of the Russian Hoax, and now the China Propaganda, only proves that they are unfit to lead in this world and to respond properly to the real crisis that we face as a planetary species.

It remains that the US is a nihilistic, sociopathic threat to human existence — and that is the number one threat that the world is facing right now. The US stands in the way of resolving the climate crisis or any other threats to peace and well being in the world.

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wendy davis's picture

@Pluto's Republic

i don't agree with your opening sentence. i'll never forget that on 9/12, the only flghts allowed in US airspace were the planes taking Saudi national OUT of this nation that exports terror, not democracy™.

i'm not sure what you mean here:

'The US stands in the way of resolving the climate crisis..'

but clearly societal breakdown is upon, even as 'climate experts' say that half the bucks nee to be spent on adaptation, not just mitigation. myownself, i believe were already at the tipping point of Hot Earth, but then, miracles do happen, don't they?

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snoopydawg's picture

@Pluto's Republic

to start terrorizing countries in the Middle East that Israel wanted flattened with help from their friends the Saudis and the neocons in congress that put Israel's wants before ours. The dancing Israelis, the moving van full of explosives and the Israelis that were caught on video across from the towers the day before the attacks. Israel definitely knew it was coming as did many people in our government. John Ashcrosft told people to stop flying commercial in June that year. Lots of CEOs and higher ups in many companies that worked in the towers were told to stay home that day. Just lots and lots of weird coincidences that add up to a "yeah they knew it was coming."

The Kagan group wanted Clinton to attack Iraq, but he got derailed by the Lewinsky scandal so just lobbed a few bombs over there
and installed brutal sanctions. The plans for attacking Iraq were made up long before Shock and Awe. Cheney met with energy CEOs to divide up the oil fields.

But speaking of Russia Gate, it fried some brains so much that yesterday I saw that they rehabilitated George W Bush of all people. George Bush compares Jan 6 insurrectionists to 9/11 hijackers, as "children of the same foul spirit" Why? Because he spoke out about the threat of domestic terrorism. Well by golly, if the worst president in their lifetimes got on board with what they believe in then let's welcome him back into the fold. DK link.

A couple decades ago, I would never in as million years have thought GWB was the sane one in the room, but here we are.

The 1/6ers managed to do what flight 95 failed to? Groan... I bet if the patriot act was installed today there would be a lot of people cheering it. Rights? You can't have rights when you're a stinking domestic terrorist. Funny tho that no one is being charged with insurrection...

Another missed opportunity for massive arrests and transport to the Hague:

28409131.jpg

I doubt any one of them care about the 2,900 some odd Americans that died any more than they care about the millions that were killed by their actions. They certainly don't care about the tens of thousands of us who die from lack of health care which there is no money for keeping us alive, but plenty to kill people who live in resource rich countries. Frankly I am sick of hearing about 9/11 because it is rolled out to further their agendas.

The US stands in the way of resolving the climate crisis

True. Biden has authorized 80,000 more drilling permits on public and federal lands. That was on top of the Obama opening the country to drilling and fracking and sending his sycophant HerHenious abroad to push for fracking. The Paris Climate agreement is a bandaid on a gushing wound. Meanwhile I have noticed on my walks an absence of birds and bird songs when they used to fill the trees. Even the obnoxious, noisy crows are decreasing in numbers. Same when I went camping. I heard a few birds in the am, but nothing till the crickets started singing after dark.

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In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

Pluto's Republic's picture

@snoopydawg

...across the facade, rejecting the event and the hypocritical US reaction at face value, as originally presented.

I do not want to address the horrors beneath the ice. The American people have neither the intellectual nor moral capacity to ever see the truth or learn anything from it. This pretty much seals the fate of the nation, and closes the book.

I leave the autopsy to the historians.

I'll reserve my grief for the birdsong.

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@snoopydawg @snoopydawg @snoopydawg that photo from the 9/11 memorial. The Global Interests made the memorial about Them.

The entertainment was approppriate. Bruce Springsteen. a super wealthy star.

I don't know if you read my post the other day when I talked about how the neighborhood representatives have been barred from participating in these Corporate Events. I posted an essay from a Downtown newspaper discussing it.

In this photo you see that the National and Big Money interests are front and center. NYC officials were there but pushed off to the side. Michael Bloomberg smack in the middle.

The Pioneers of Tribeca who have lived here long before it had a name and every local organization that built this millionaires haven were elsewhere yesterday.

(In 1976 when I moved in, my daughter was one of the kids enrolled in the One Room Schoolhouse on the premises of our complex. We had no drug store, no market, nothing but these gorgeous new buildings built not for middle-class folks like us, but in the hopes that young bankers and attorneys who worked downtown would move in. The rest of the neighborhood was meat markets and fragrant coffee roasting plants.

Too few better off people moved in, so the government took over and we became a middle-class rental with every race and color and language imaginable and amenities that were first-class at the time.

Our time is almost done. We are dying one by one at increasing speed.

We will leave behind more trees than anywhere else I know of in the City. The architects from Old Tribeca, back in the late nineties, early 2000's designed wide sidewalks with lots of trees. The working class folks like me held the hoses to water the tender saplings. All these years later they form an arc that covers the sidewalks from both sides, curbside and closer to our buildings.)

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NYCVG

Pluto's Republic's picture

@NYCVG

...Especially in that location.

The dirty and disgusting Vietnam war had just ended.

An interesting start to your journey.

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@Pluto's Republic @Pluto's Republic On July 4, 1976 we gathered in my neighbor's apartment where we stood on the balcony and watched The Tall Ships sailing up the Hudson River. Fireworks after dark.

All unforgettable.

We moved into our new appartment in March. By July, we were a community. Still friends, after all these years. Those of us still standing, that is.

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NYCVG

@Pluto's Republic

"The US stands in the way of resolving the climate crisis or any other threats to peace and well being in the world."

Oh?

China’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 exceeded those of the U.S. and other developed nations combined, according to research published Thursday by Rhodium Group.
China is now responsible for more than 27% of total global emissions. The U.S., the world’s second-highest emitter, accounts for 11% of the global total.

Source

BTW - if the US was not at least pretending to protect it how do you think Taiwan would be faring about now in the 'peace and well-being' department?

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@Blue Republic

Come back with the per capita stats for emmissons. Then we can talk like intellectual equals. China has pledged carbon neutrality in 2030. What did the US pledge? 2060? What a lying disgrace it is, with a fraction of the population of China!

Taiwan would be in the same progressive position that it was from 1949 to the present. China is Taiwan's key trading partner. China has powered Taiwan's progress. It is US interference (with its anti-communist insanity driving it) in an attempt to start a hot war with China that is causing problems. China is in no hurry to reunite with Taiwan. It can happily wait a thousand years. However, no foreign enemy will ever be allowed to occupy Taiwan.

What do you think the US is doing there? How gullible must one be to think the US is there for a reason other than to conquer and destroy? Simply because the US cannot compete intellectually or commercially with China. China has consistently extended friendship to the US.

Remember when the US overthrew Ukraine's government to save it from Russia (sic)? Well, the Ukraine will be moving on to China. Why? Because the US is filled with poison.

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@Pluto's Republic @

Come back with the per capita stats for emmissons. Then we can talk like intellectual equals. China has pledged carbon neutrality in 2030.

Equals? I'm such an intellectual powerhouse that I can read and even add!

So, when I see something like this:

"China’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 exceeded those of the U.S. and other developed nations combined, according to research published Thursday by Rhodium Group."

I recognize they are not just talking about the US, but a lot of other countries, too!

And so adding up the populations of what the Rhodium Group is counting as developed countries: EU, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore,South Korea, Japan, Norway, Iceland, Israel, Chile, Turkey, Mexico and the US... (For some reason they don't seem to have included Russia in the developed country category - Russian per capita GHG emissions appear to be slightly higher than China's)

Comes out to a combined population of 1.3 billion. Versus 1.4 billion for China.

Which, overall, doesn't make for a big per capita difference at all, now does it?

Not that American patterns of energy consumption are anywhere near ideal - there is a whole lot of room for improvement, but it's not like they are the root of all evil, either.

FWIW the US doesn't even make the top ten in per-capita emissions. At No. 1 we have... (drum roll) Guyana! source

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@Blue Republic

You have revealed nothing. China got there first.

My comment you claim to be addressing is not about 2019. It is about the future:

"The US stands in the way of resolving the climate crisis or any other threats to peace and well being in the world."

.

China is addressing the future. China has planted a forest the size of the Amazon across China, visible from space, to help mitigate climate change. And China continues planting at the same pace, even now. That's how China uses it military. China honors their deadlines at home, to improve the lives of the Chinese People. And they honor the pledges they make to the world and to the UN, for whom China supplies their military to serve as UN PeaceKeepers. I'm not going to list the massive efforts China is making globally to mitigate climate change for all humankind. You can look these things up and educate yourself.

Your fingerpointing propaganda is empty of anything productive or constructive. It is a purely amateurish attempt at blame. It only adds to the general hate and destruction falsely aimed at China. People can see through you. Stop and examine yourself!

The US elite will block every attempt to stop the burning of every last ounce of fossil fuels that it is so deeply invested in. Climate change mitigation is not about 2019. It is a map that leads into the future. The US has shown the world what it is about — deception, lies, extortion, and ripped-up pledges and promises.

How much disgrace can you embrace?

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@Pluto's Republic

It's the CCP I have issues with and am savvy enough to distinguish the one from the other.

Around here, even the Communists have issues with the CCP and their criticisms are right on the money:

The Japanese Communist Party (JCP) has doubled down on its efforts to distance itself from its erstwhile ideological ally in Beijing, refusing to congratulate the Chinese Communist Party on the centenary of its founding on July 1. Instead, JCP chairman Kazuo Shii used the anniversary to lambast China’s government in a series of tweets.

He cited Beijing’s “aggressive” territorial claims and described its treatment of Hong Kong and the Uygur Muslim minority in its westernmost province of Xinjiang as “human rights violations”.

“[These] have nothing to do with socialism and are not worthy of the name of a communist party,” he wrote.

“How can we describe their behaviour in the East China Sea and the South China Sea without calling it ‘supremacy’? What do you call human rights violations against the people of Hong Kong and the Uygurs if not ‘power politics’?

“China must comply with international law; it is important that the international community makes that demand,” he said.

Beijing maintains that the national security law imposed in Hong Kong last year after anti-government protests was necessary to maintain stability, while its policies in Xinjiang are designed to fight extremism and reduce poverty in the region.

Hiromi Murakami, a professor of political science at the Tokyo campus of Temple University, said Shii’s comments were “very surprising because they were so blunt”.

“It is interesting that they have not been afraid to speak up on these issues and let the party in China know that despite having ‘communist’ in both their names, they do not intend to shy away and not say the hard things that need to be said,” she added.

The JCP’s stance, coming after it redrew its party platform last year for the first time in 16 years to differentiate it from the Chinese party, made it the only major political party in Japan that refrained from sending congratulatory messages to the Chinese Communist Party.

In contrast, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the other key parties in the Diet all sent messages, though the Japanese government itself held back from doing so, unlike other Asian governments and leaders.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato instead told a press conference late last week that “stable Japan-China relations are important for the peace and prosperity of not only our two countries but also the region and the international community”.

The foreign ministry declined to comment on the decision not to send a message, but a senior official was quoted by the Yomiuri newspaper as saying that congratulating the Communist Party “could send the wrong signal” to Beijing.

Toshio Ueki, a spokesman for the JCP, told This Week in Asia that they had not heard from the Communist Party in response to the snub. He added there had been hope that other Japanese parties might choose not to congratulate Beijing.

“But the LDP and the other parties do not really care about human rights or many of these other issues,” he said.

The LDP’s congratulatory message was sent in the name of party secretary general Toshihiro Nikai, the Mainichi newspaper reported, with a source quoting him as saying that sending a message was “common practice” and that “it would have been strange not to send one”.

Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of the LDP’s political ally Komeito, told a press conference that a party marking 100 years is an unusual occurrence. “We hope the party will work harder to achieve global peace, development and stability.”

The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition force, sent a congratulatory message in the name of its leader, Yukio Edano, although he admitted at a media conference, “I don’t think we can celebrate the occasion without having reservations under the current circumstances”.

Japan and China disagree over the sovereignty of islands in the East China Sea that Beijing claims as the Diaoyu Islands but which Tokyo controls and refers to as the Senkaku Islands.

Tokyo has criticised Beijing’s unilateral occupation and militarisation of islands in the South China Sea that are also claimed by a number of neighbouring nations, including the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Japan is also actively attempting to build a security alliance of nations in the region and further afield to counter what is widely seen as Beijing’s efforts to extend its military and political reach.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.

AsiaOne.com
July 06, 2021

"How much disgrace can you embrace?"

Gee, I don't know.

But getting all warm and fuzzy about the greatest mass murderers in the history of the planet looks pretty hard to top, so I'll have to concede that one to you.

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CB's picture

@Blue Republic
to CO2 amelioration is switching to Green Hydrogen - where the only waste product is pure water.

They are banking on hydrogen power-to-gas technology. It is more economical and environmental friendly to use hydrogen fuel cells to power electric vehicles instead of batteries. This will eliminate the downsides of batteries which are environmentally 'dirty', both in production and disposal. Their current plan is to have ALL their long haul trucking converted to hydrogen by 2030.

Take careful note of China's Industry Capacity Capping Policy in the following. That is a major game changer in reducing CO2 emissions.

China’s Green Hydrogen Projects: Exponential Growth Begins
19 May 2021

Keeping track of China’s green hydrogen projects is becoming hard.

We saw explosive growth of new green hydrogen projects in the first quarter of 2021.

For investors, technology suppliers, and developers hoping to get a foothold in the Chinese green hydrogen bloom, this is the time to pay serious attention.

China Power-to-Gas: 50+ Projects and $20B

According to Energy Iceberg’s intelligence database, China already has +50 green hydrogen production projects by the end of May 2021.

The total investment size of these project, as we estimate, is over ¥110 billion.
...
Nevertheless, we expect the green hydrogen investment trend to continue and speed up in the coming 1-2 years. This is because green hydrogen development is in line with several energy policy factors in China.

  • Renewable grid-parity and curtailment: as mentioned, renewable developers face the “double-whammies” of declining electricity prices and looming power curtailment.
  • Industry Capacity Capping policy: Beijing’s stricter measure to cap capacity (such as in iron&steel and coal-to-chemical) would spur the adoption of green applications.
  • Energy storage policy: the recent emphasis on fostering a 20GW size energy storage market provides another policy momentum for green hydrogen projects. The set-up of storage pricing in the electricity market is a positive note to the burgeoning PtG scene.
  • 30/60 Target: the 2030 carbon emission peak and 2060 carbon neutrality require green or blue hydrogen–instead of the existing grey gas sources.

In short, China’s green hydrogen market is expected to see capacity increase exponentially. The time window left for new investment, suppliers, and developers to secure a foothold is short.
...

In response to your post here's a graph of which country is responsible for the majority of CO2 emissions in the world.

annual-share-of-co2-emissions.png

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@CB

Definitely has potential and should be developed further.

But (as with a lot of other 'Green' initiatives) there are some environmentally destructive aspects to China's plans down in the fine print.

Where is the electricity going to come from to produce the hydrogen?

Answer: Dams. Lots of big ones, including a lot on the Mekong system which supports the most extensive fresh water fishery in the world. Three Gorges Dam has devastated fisheries on the Yangtze. How green is it if they destroy those of the Mekong to move their long haul trucks?

Have the Chinese really learned their lessons from past disasters such as the failure of the Banquiao Dam in 1975 - which killed over 200,000 people?

This summer's disaster in Zhengzhou doesn't exactly inspire confidence:

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CB's picture

@Blue Republic
massive solar and wind farms which in many cases now have oversupply issues causing decreases in price and subsequent government forced curtailment of new installations.

Fisheries on the Yangtze River were decimated by 100 years of pollution and over fishing. There is now a complete moratorium on all fishing for 10 years. There have also been massive programs set up to reduce pollution and their sources.

Have the Chinese really learned their lessons from past disasters such as the failure of the Banquiao Dam in 1975 - which killed over 200,000 people?

26,000 were killed directly from the failure of the damn. The others were killed by subsequent epidemics and famine. There are over 22,000 dams over 50ft in height in China. Historically dam failures have not been unique to China.

But what is unique to China that only 10% of it's land is suitable for farming due to its extensive mountains and deserts and most of this land is on floodplains subject to historic periodic catastrophic flooding. According to Chinese history, the Yellow River (Huang He) has flooded thousands of times, while its main course changed 18 times and created some of the highest death tolls in Chinese history. Extensive dams and levees have since tamed the river.

This summer's disaster in Zhengzhou doesn't exactly inspire confidence:

Epoch Times is an anti-China propaganda source of 'news' that constantly tries to denigrate China. The video failed to actually confirm how many people were killed in the bus. He got out so why couldn't the others?

Zhengzhou flooding wasn't caused by dams being blown up. The authorities blew up the dam in order to protect more people. Please choose a better source for your 'reporting'.

The city had received a years worth of rain fall within 3 days. It is remarkable that so few lives were lost considering the extent and damage of this flood. It shows that the Chinese people can work together to help each other in times of need.

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@CB

that resulted in the (real) death toll being of the magnitude it was.

Apparently, there are over 45 dams in the watershed above Zhengzhou and all or
most of them release water due to the intense rain. That was likely unavoidable *but* warnings of the releases were not timely or given at all - the biggest dam did issue a notice that it was releasing water, but it came around twelve hours after the actual release. The release was in the late morning and impacted the city in the late afternoon - the notice of release came around 10:30 that night.

Even absent official notice releases were to be expected but no warnings went out to commuters, the highway tunnel remained open and subways continued to run. The cars in the tunnel and the passengers trapped in the subway *need not have been there* the fact that they were is most likely due to multiple failures by management - including that of the dams.

BTW about those remarkably light casualties - the videos of the people trapped in subway cars up to their neck were from only one subway line, there was another line operating that there seems to be no video from at all...

And no, we don't know how many casualties there might have been on that bus (since the army took over salvage and the area was surrounded with police and military to prevent people observing), but what is evident, from video taken at either end of the tunnel and from survivor accounts that its six lanes total were packed with vehicles end to end for four kilometers - more than likely thousands died there alone. The 33 or so officially reported death toll for the entire city and surrounding area is absurd.

BTW - Epoch Times is propaganda compared to WHAT? Official Chinese media? Right...

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CB's picture

@Blue Republic

Zhengzhou

On 16 July 2021, Zhengzhou began to experience heavy rain. On 20 July alone, the average precipitation on that day had reached 253 mm (9.96 in). From 16:00 to 17:00 on 20 July, the rainfall in one hour reached 201.9mm (7.95 in); and from 20:00 on 17 July to 20:00 on 20 July, the rainfall reached 617.1mm (24.30 in) in the course of three days,[21] close to the annual average yearly precipitation

Did you see the damage due to rain in New York where they only got 3 to 9 inches?

Hourly rainfall records were set at Central Park and Newark Airport; more than 3 inches (8 centimeters) of rain fell at both locations in the span of an hour, and other locations were blitzed as bands of rain crawled over the area. Rainfall totals for the storm maxed out at nearly 9 inches (23 centimeters) in Staten Island with a wide swath of locations receiving at least 6 inches (15 centimeters).

Chinese military blew the dam to release flood waters from the city. Just like in New York, communication systems were shut down with massive power failures due to rain.

China Blasts Dam To Divert Massive Flooding That Has Killed At Least 25
July 21, 2021

BEIJING — China's military has blasted a dam to release floodwaters threatening one of its most heavily populated provinces, as the death toll in widespread flooding rose to at least 25.

The dam operation was carried out late Tuesday night in the city of Luoyang, just as severe flooding overwhelmed the Henan provincial capital of Zhengzhou, trapping residents in the subway system and stranding them at schools, apartments and offices.
...

I have been following China for over 20 years. Most of the propaganda comes from American media. The Chinese media has been much more forthcoming and honest.

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lotlizard's picture

1. Thinking “Black Lives Matter” but not thinking “Iraq Lives Matter” = self-centered id-pol bullshit. That Iraqi girl who blogged for awhile, Riverbend, whatever happened to her? Not a single death in a NATO-destabilized country ever happened that was as unjust as George Floyd’s?

2. True freedom of speech and press, and true diversity (of opinion, not just of identity group), would mean at least some unbiased acknowledgement and examination in the media of alternate views on 9/11, not merely and exclusively the official one.

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wendy davis's picture

@lotlizard

as many alternative media journalists cover names and faces outside the US. i was telling a friend about having kept up with the bureau of investigative journalists (UK), and especially their Name the Dead projects.

even telling her of the photos and stories i had in my burned-dead laptop made me cry. the biggie was those who searched for drone kill sites in afghanistan, and often would sometimes find only the small rubber zoris of dead children. that was obama's terror tuesdays, seeing satellite images of bodies 'walking in tactical formation'.

as to your #2, agreed. joe biden says he'll soon have the 9/11 fbi files released...or something close to that. i never had the fortitude (nor the time) to listen to yesterday's live stream from the lawyers for a 9/11 inquiry.

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lotlizard's picture

@wendy davis  
https://jacobinmag.com/2021/09/barack-obama-photography-race-representat...

[Blair McClendon:] As I wrote in the piece, what was most galling to me about Obama’s presidency, and one of the things he was most successful at, was presenting himself as a dad. I think all the time about his response to Trayvon Martin’s killing, which went everywhere immediately, because it was so moving for him to say, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” It’s a beautiful line, and a stunning one to hear from the president. But you know, seeing Abdulrahman, and seeing how his death was just sort of brushed off, ultimately showed the limits of that — because Abdulrahman wouldn’t look like his son. So, the kid who’s killed and whom Obama can speak about eloquently — he regrets his death and says, “He would look like my son,” and he understands the pain of his family, and years later Trayvon’s image is put up at the Democratic National Convention (DNC). And suddenly his death becomes a part of the Democratic story. When it came to Abdulrahman, there just had to be silence, because his killing was part of a secret war (even though it wasn’t really a secret).

What hung with me about him, and what still does, beyond my sadness over his death, was that, to me, the incident showed the limits of a politics that claimed black people would redeem the nation. You wind up with dead kids in some other country and black people having to be silent about it, because now they think they have to pick between an image of black excellence (being president is as excellent as you can be in this country) and acknowledgment of the body count in other countries. I don’t think I would have been perhaps as eloquent in stating it then, but whenever I hear those phrases, and whenever I hear the Civil Rights Movement (or pretty much any movement that’s concerned with black liberation) being marshaled into saving America, I just wish people would follow through and ask what happens to everywhere else when you “save America.”

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mimi's picture

No one wants to be lead.

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mimi

CB's picture

@mimi
and the media banks on it. And it doesn't matter what side of the fence a particular herd is on.

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wendy davis's picture

@mimi

meant to prevent shared power, finance, and influence in a multi-polar world. the gloss is beginning to wear off a bit, as nations are forced to ally with russia and china on projects, even germany on Nordstream 2, iirc.

au contraire, ma soeur; many people love to be led, partially because then they don't have to consider the thorniest issues, but choose candidates who espouse what they believe themselves.

with israel and the US, we often ask: which one is the client, which one the master?

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for the 2001 Resolution - was inclining against it but apparently some of his staff were arguing strongly for a yes vote and he went along with it.

By 2002 had gotten his head right, though - along with five other Republicans, Bernie and 126 Dems.

Complete listing of (Senate and House) 'Nay' votes against authorizing the Iraq war here

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lotlizard's picture

@Blue Republic  
Finally, after 14 years of the GFC (global financial crisis of 2007-2008) and its aftermath, Ron Paul’s progressive detractors are grudgingly beginning to acknowledge that the Fed is a malign force: Guardians of the Asset Galaxy, it’s the 1%’s financial Pentagon, market manipulators at the pinnacle of a protected banker caste that never has to answer to the 99%, at all.

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